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Proposed Legislation Attempts to Clear Up Ambiguities About Florida Divorce


When you are engaged or newly married, people give you all kinds of unsolicited advice, of which a lot is mutually contradictory, and you blissfully tune it out, because you are young and in love.  To this day, you cannot remember which of your aunts told you that you should state your boundaries clearly to your mother-in-law during your first one on one conversation with her after your wedding, and stick to them ever after, and which of your aunts said that you should alternate at random between sweetness and passive aggression until your mother-in-law as no idea what to think about you.  When you are in the process of divorce, you welcome advice; you even go looking for it online when no one you know has had an experience similar to yours.  Again, the advice you receive is mutually contradictory.  Optimists would attribute this to the fact that every divorce case is unique, but pessimists would say that it is because the divorce laws in Florida are inherently confusing.  Florida lawmakers have proposed two bills that aim to clear up some of the ambiguities in Florida divorce law.  If you are headed for divorce but are confused about what to do or to expect, contact a Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

Highlights of HB 521 and SB 534

Florida’s equitable distribution rule means that judges may use their individual judgment to decide the fairest way to divide the couple’s marital property.  Unsurprisingly, Florida caselaw contains instances where two judges in two different divorce cases resolved the same issue in opposite ways.  This year, Rep. Traci Koster introduced HB 521, while Senator Erin introduced SB 534.  Both bills address financial issues related to divorce.  These are some of the matters addressed in the new proposed legislation:

  • Guidelines for the valuation of family businesses
  • Real estate properties that belonged to one spouse before the marriage but later became the marital home
  • Real estate properties given as interspousal gifts
  • Partial distribution of marital assets while the divorce case is pending

If they become law, the new bills will provide more detailed guidelines about issues on which case law has thus far not provided a consensus.  Meanwhile, the provisions of this legislation will not necessarily override your wishes for your own case.  You will probably be among the many couples who resolve all your property division issues during mediation.  If a new law designates a certain asset as marital property, but you want the court to consider it a separate asset in your case, all you have to do is sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.  A family law attorney can help you make wise decisions about marital property during your engagement, marriage, or divorce.

Contact Schwartz | White About Property Division in Divorce

A South Florida family law attorney can help you reach a property settlement agreement during mediation or get a fair share of marital property at trial.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.




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